Owl Chicks

“Males do all the hunting while the female is on eggs (about 30 days) and probably most of the hunting during the first 2 weeks after the young hatch. As the young get larger and more demanding, the female will join in the hunting. Young are dependent upon their parents roughly through June. In July they leave home and wander only a few miles away in search of good habitat not already occupied by Barred Owls.”

This quote is from Rob Bierregaard’s Barred Owl website. Today, Caroline and I found the chicks in the cavity but Mom was no where to be found. A passerby said she saw an owl at Bridge #7, nearby. The chicks seem to be much bigger now, and may be branching soon. Is it possible that the parents would leave them for longer periods of time in order to encourage branching? Perhaps that’s a stretch. It could be that both parents are just really busy hunting to feed the growing demands of these chicks.

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Another question. Is it possible that Barred Owl chicks are born with full-grown bills that their bodies must catch up to? Maybe its my imagination but it certainly appears to be the case. What a bill.


About birdingatbond

I love birding! And I live near Fred G. Bond Metro Park in Cary, NC.
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One Response to Owl Chicks

  1. Rob G says:

    in my experience once the chicks reach a certain age (and certainly if they are big enough to peer out the nesthole) mom will leave the cavity on occasion — for one thing, in cases with 3 chicks especially, the cavity space must get very tight with growing chicks. But one parent is always nearby watchfully keeping an eye on nest (usually from just 1 or 2 trees over). And yes, eventually the parents will stay out and actually make sounds back to chicks which I presume are to encourage branching. When they do branch, in my experience the chicks stay in the same general area for no more than 48 hrs. before heading off in different directions, and if there are a lot of interlacing trees they can be amazingly far apart within 48-72 hrs., and far from the nest cavity to which they never return. (You can still find them by their high-pitched squealing, or by their parents movements.)
    I don’t know specifically about bill-size, but certainly their heads are proportionately large when young, until their bodies catch up.

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